Karl’s Nuggets win again
DENVER – The Utah Jazz have been frustrated all season, but their despondence reached a new low after their starters combined for just 19 points.The Denver Nuggets capitalized on the futility as Earl Boykins came off the bench to score 20 points, outscoring all five Utah starters by himself, and Carmelo Anthony had 25 points in the Nuggets’ 97-87 victory over the Jazz on Tuesday night.Andrei Kirilenko led the starters with eight points. Kirk Snyder had six, Carlos Boozer four, Jarron Collins one and Raul Lopez was held scoreless.”Not too many people can win that way unless the other team doesn’t show up,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “It didn’t appear that we showed up.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a team’s starters combined for 19 points or less was when Denver’s starting five had 15 points against Indiana on No. 11, 2003.”We were frustrated, got sat on the bench and didn’t have a chance to play,” said Kirilenko, who was limited to 23 minutes. “It was a right decision because we didn’t play good.”Mehmet Okur led the Jazz with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Raja Bell and Matt Harpring had 16 and 15 points, respectively. Utah has lost five of six.Kenyon Martin had 17 points and Marcus Camby added 14 rebounds and seven blocks as the Nuggets improved to 5-1 under new coach George Karl. Of the five victories, none have come against a team with a winning record.”It was the best game that Carmelo has played for us,” Karl said. “We probably didn’t get him the ball as much as we should have.”
After Okur’s tip in made it 48-48 with 8:18 left in the third quarter, Anthony had two dunks and nine points in a 13-0 run. Utah was 0-for-10 in the four-minute stretch before Harpring’s two free throws.Martin scored seven points over the final 4:42, and the Nuggets took a 72-64 lead into the fourth quarter.Boozer’s tip and a short jumper by Gordan Giricek closed the gap to 77-74, and the Jazz’s deficit remained three after two free throws by Kirilenko with 6:58 remaining. Boykins buried a long jumper with 4:50 left, two of six points in a 10-4 run to put Denver ahead 89-80. Boykins had two more baskets over the last four minutes.The Jazz shot only 5-of-22 in the first quarter. While Utah struggled, Anthony had eight points and Denver led 23-14.
“We played well defensively at the start and gave ourselves a chance,” Anthony said. “We had no worries about them getting back in the game.”The teams reversed roles in the second half, with the Jazz going 5-for-8 shooting and Bell’s jumper capping a 17-7 run to put the Jazz ahead 31-30. Camby had six points and blocked a shot as Denver outscored Utah 13-7 in the last 6:12 to take a 43-38 lead at the break.”Our shot selection played right into their hands because they want to push the ball on you and they pushed it right down our throats,” Sloan said. “We got back into the ballgame but we couldn’t sustain it.”Notes: Kirilenko has struggled since his return from a knee injury. “You have to remember he is carrying an added package with him (brace),” Sloan said. “That’s something to get used to.” … The Jazz are 5-9 on the second night of back-to-back games. … Anthony lost his shorts and missed a layup in the first quarter. … Karl didn’t think Anthony warranted All-Star consideration. “I’d say no,” Karl said. “The performance of the team is taken into account and Denver has been struggling.”
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